About us and the history of KasCare
Our organisation was founded in October 2008 after a family conference in Melbourne, Australia.
It is based on the grim reality of 1.9 million orphans, abandoned children and child-led familes in South Africa. There are millions of abandoned children, orphans and child-headed families in southern Africa. They live in dire poverty. They lack love, shelter, food, education and warmth. The same can be said for abandoned newborns and babies. Young mothers, many of them teenagers, give birth with little chance of supporting themselves, let alone their babies.
In 1984 two close families in Zimbabwe separated through emigration. One—Ronda and Peter Lowrie and two daughters —went to South Africa. The other—Sandy and Roger McDonald and two daughters—moved to Australia.
Ronda is an active charity worker in Soweto. In conversation with her niece, Sandy, in Melbourne in late 2008, she identified one of the many basic problems in South Africa as a chronic shortage of blankets, especially at altitude in the cold highveld winters. The problem is common to many other poor communities in South Africa.
Sandy and Roger developed the idea that we could start an online movement. It would call on the world’s knitters and crocheters to knit standard 8”/20cm squares and send them to her in South Africa. There, volunteers would make them up into blankets for distribution to these children. The idea for www.knit-a-square.com was born.
Not knowing what to expect when the website went live in late October 2008, they were thrilled when a trickle of squares began to arrive in early 2009.
Some impressive numbers
By early 2011, we had developed a wholly voluntary organization that had attracted more than 5,000 members from 40 countries around the world. Between them they sent more than 200,000 hand knitted or crocheted squares to South Africa, representing more than 5,700 blankets . In addition, more than 10,000 knitted items, including hats, beanies, vests and toys have arrived. Our internal forum has 1,468 members and Kaskids™ has been introduced to over 250 schools.
The decision to become a charity
Knit-a-square was a family run, informal charity based on the voluntary efforts of half a dozen people, working full or part time. We realised that with such a volume of squares arriving, we would have to secure the South African operation.
Following that we had to ensure that we had sufficient administrative resources to continue to run the organization and develop the KasKids™ school program, so we took the decision to incorporate Knit-a-square under the name KasCare. KasCare became an registered charity in Australia in September 2009.